You don't have to be mad...

Comics to star in mental asylum drama

The man behind the Edinburgh Fringe hit 12 Angry Men is planning to follow it up with a version of One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, also starring a cast of comedians.

Director Guy Masterson is in talks with Hollywood lawyers for the rights to stage a play based on Ken Kelsey's classic novel set in an American mental asylum.

He told The Scotsman: "We are aiming primarily to clear it for Edinburgh, and if it is a success there will be an option to open it in the West End directly."

Problems with rights has prevented 12 Angry Men transferring to London, even though it was one of the Fringe's biggest hits, with 23 sell-out performances.

Masterson said that casting comedians as mentally disturbed people wasn't such a leap of imagination.

"It's probably not far off the truth anyway, he said. "They certainly have a heightened sense of awareness and humour that will make them very keen actors on this one."

Comedian Dave Johns (pictured), one of the stars of 12 Angry Men alongside Bill Bailey, Stephen Frost and Owen O'Neill, suggested the stage version of Kesey's novel as the next ensemble piece.

"I think that he meant it as a joke. It is not a joke, just a brilliant idea," Masterson added.

"Comedians taking on the roles may seem like a gimmick, but comedians make great actors, and they bring an audience into the theatre which traditionally doesn't go."

Published: 9 Dec 2003

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